Bolivia Drugs Overview
Bolivia has lived through more than two decades of supply reduction policies, but still figures as the world's third cocaine-producing country.
Bolivia has lived through more than two decades of supply reduction policies, but still figures as the world's third cocaine-producing country. Traditional use of the coca leaf has been common and is protected by national legislation, covering also production for the internal coca market. A strong peasant movement has been able to articulate coca farmers' interests which has also found expression in a new political party, currently the biggest in the
country. Two main production areas exist, the Trópico de Cochabamba or Chapare and the Yungas de La Paz, the latter covering the lion's share of legal production.
Some improvements have occurred in the government's attitude to resolving conflicts arisingen from forced eradication of coca fields, by stepping away from exclusively repressive measures accompanied by ill-functioning Alternative Development projects. To prevent the escalation of conflicts in the Chapare area, peasants are now permitted to have a small plot of land growing coca. Research on the extent of the domestic licit market will have to prove whether the revenues from these permitted areas are covering traditional demand for the coca leaf. The potential that export of these traditional products (like coca tea) might become an economic impetus for the poverty ridden country, is still restricted by the limitations imposed upon the country by international conventions on narcotic drugs.
TNI on Bolivia
Coca or Death? Cocalero movements in Peru and Bolivia TNI Drugs & Conflict Debate Paper 10, April 2004
This issue of Drugs and Conflict analyses cocalero peasant organisations in Peru and Bolivia and their interaction with successive governments during the peasant mobilisations of recent years. The achievements and failures of such negotiations expose the difficulty in finding peaceful and sustainable solutions to an issue as intricate as the cultivation of coca leaf.
- Coca, Cocaine and the International Conventions TNI Drug Policy Briefing 5, April 2003
is no understatement to claim that there are few plants subject to such tensions as the coca leaf, either in legal and political circuits, or in the medical and anthropological academic world. Before, during and after its inclusion in the number 1 list of the Single Convention on
Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the controversy on whether the coca leaf is or is not to be considered a narcotic drug, worthy of control by the international institutions and mechanisms, reached apparent irreconcilable positions.
- Conflict Flares in the Bolivian Tropics TNI Drug Policy Briefing 2, January 2002
Citing the ban on poppy cultivation imposed in Afghanistan by the now-vanquished Taliban regime, a high UNDCP official stated that the ban had been an unprecedented success in its time, in terms of drugs control, but it was also a major disaster in humanitarian terms. The same holds true for Bolivia. An impressive reduction of the coca-cultivated area has been achieved within the framework of "Plan Dignidad", but this "success" has exacted a heavy toll in terms of the impoverishment and criminalisation of the Bolivian coca leaf-growing peasantry, or "cocaleros", as they are known.
- Theo Roncken Narco Jets and Police Protection in Bolivia in Crime in Uniform, December 1997
- Theo Roncken Bolivia: Impunity and the Control of Corruption in the Fight against Drugs in Democracy, Human Rights and Militarism in the War on Drugs in Latin America, April 1997
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